Make Believe

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Alex is watching a movie in his makeshift theater…

Movie Theater

What an imagination!

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The boys have a class history project to present. Both of them had to choose a famous person and research their life, develop a timeline of their life and document pertinent history, put together a storyboard, and come to school dressed AS that person. They also have to answer questions from their classmates about their subject person.

Alex chose Sitting Bull…

Alex's School Project

While Adam chose Jackie Robinson…

Adam's School Project

They helped Mom and Dad make their costumes…


and joined their classmates in presentations…

Presentations Presentations

Mom was able to attend and said they both did very well. Their teachers must have agreed because they each received an “A”!

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ALL ABOARD! With gold tickets in hand and the boys dressed in their pajamas, we boarded The Polar Express in Tavares, Florida, for our trip to the North Pole…

Polar Express Tickets

Today’s experience was our Christmas gift from the boys’ Godparents, Chris and Sherrie, and is based on the more-than-30-year-old Christmas classic, The Polar Express, by Chris Van Allsberg, and the 2004 animated movie directed by Robert Zemeckis.

Prairie Dogs

Each car in the train had it’s own steward (ours was named “Hannah”), who directed all of the show’s activities, including the conductor visit, the hobo, the reading of the story by the author, singing Christmas carols, and the hot chocolate song complete with dancing waiters in the isle. She also punched the tickets, of course…

Steward Hannah Tickets Punched

When we reached the North Pole, Santa joined us and presented all the kids on the train with “the first gift of Christmas,” a silver bell…


The whole experience lasted just over an hour and was well worth the two-hour drive to Tavares! Although Adam questioned: 1) why the trip to the North Pole only took 30-minutes (“because the movie was two-hours”); 2) why, upon reaching the North Pole, there was no snow; 3) why Santa’s gray mustache wasn’t white like his beard; and 4) why he couldn’t have more hot chocolate.

( sigh )

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So, this year we’re changing things up a bit and will enjoy our Thanksgiving dinner at my personal favorite Disney park: Disney Hollywood Studios!

Tram Ride DHS Statue

There was so much to do. We had our Fast Passes which made it pretty easy to get to the other activities we wanted to do…mainly just enjoying the Christmas music and awesome decorations,

Christmas Tree Christmas Tree





Who also was seen doing a little breaking-and-entering…


Anyway, we scheduled an early dinner at Hollywood & Vine, where we got to mingle with the Disney characters…

to start, Goofy and I shot the breeze for a bit…

Dad and Goofy

then, we brought the family in…

Family and Goofy

And while we waited on Mickey and the gang, we helped ourselves to Thanksgiving dinner!

Thanksgiving Dinner Thanksgiving Dinner

And in-between going back for second helpings, we hung-out with some Disney VIPs…

Mickey Donald
Minnie Daisey

After dinner, it was just starting to get dark and the Christmas lights we all coming on. Mom and Alex toured the Pixar Studio area, while Adam and I made our way over to the Rockin’ Rollercoaster…and whoooosh!

Rocking Rollercoaster

And that about wrapped-up our day. We watched the light show on the Tower of Terror…


and stopped for one last picture…


And best of all? NO DISHES TO WASH!!

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It’s here…it’s finally here! The boys have been going on about Halloween for a couple of weeks now and counting down the days. Soon their coffers will be filled with CANDY!

This year, Adam was a S.W.A.T. officer, and Alex was the Red Power Ranger. Long gone are the days they would dress in similar costumes, as each year they become more and more diverse in their interests. But hey, they’re both crime fighters this year, right?

SWAT and Power Ranger

This year Charlie even got into the act, as a Rocker with his jean jacket and guitar…

Charlie Rocker

Meanwhile, in Alabama, grandkids Oliver and Carter John look AWESOME as Woody and Buzz…

Woody and Buzz

and Kameran was Barb from Stranger Things. I think she did a great job!

Kam and Barb

As expected, the boys cleaned-up on Candy…enough to last them into December. And Charlie absolutely loved the walk (and the attention).

Happy Halloween

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The Future is Now at Epcot’s Test Track, where the boys’ got to design their own car and test it’s performance…

Alex designs his car

This ride normally has wait times of 90- to 120-minutes. We had a Fast Pass, so the wait wasn’t no where near that long. Although the car design part was pretty cool, I think the ride was more hype than substance. Still, it’s worth the wait with a Fast Pass.

I think the best ride at Epcot is Soarin’ which is a flight motion simulator that takes you around the world within a 180° OMNIMAX laser projection screen. Anyway, Alex didn’t want to ride this one, so it was just me and Adam…


And look who Cindy and Alex ran into while Adam and I were flying around the world…

Mom, Alex, and Tink

While visiting the aquarium, we run into Nemo’s pal, Bruce…

“Fish are friends, not food, but little boys are food. Definitely, food.”

Bruce and the boys

…and his buddy, Chum…

“A clownfish, really? Tell us a joke!”

Dad and Chum

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The school year is over for the boys and to kick-off the summer, we heading down to Disney Hollywood Studios–which happens to be my favorite of the Disney theme parks!

DHS Entrance

So much to do! First things first: The Rockin’ Rollercoaster…

Rockin Rollercoaster Entrance


Rockin Rollercoaster

What else? There are 3D specs and Jawas…

3D Specs Jawa Boys

and a couple Storm Troopers harass an old lady on her scooter…


which turned-out to be a prelude to a little storm trooper recruiting by Captain Phasma of the First Order…

Anyway, it wasn’t all about Star Wars. There was “Pigs in Space”…

Pigs in Space

and the live Frozen show, which was absolutely hilarious!!


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Today the boy’s classes took a field trip to Fort Menendez in St Augustine. This interactive museum is great for young kids. They learn about the Timucua Indians and early colonial life in Spanish East Florida through hands-on activities that give them a feel for the pioneer life.

Alex’s teacher, Ms Stanton, got into the act…dressed as a Timucua Indian, she helped teach the kids about the various tools used by the pre-European residents of the area…

Educating the crowd

And for some reason, Alex wasn’t very happy about something…

Not too happy

Until he got to play a game…which looks a lot like the football drills today’s pro quarterbacks participate in!

Football drill Football drill Football drill

Adam, on the other hand, and true to form, took advantage of the face painting with his friend, Adalyn…

Face Paint Face Paint

Alex, also true to form, just stuck to the games…

Alexs Game Alexs Game

Mom? Well, she just took the pictures. Naturally. 🙂

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This year, the boys are going through a Ninja phase. You have to look real close, though, because, you know, they’re Ninjas…

Ninjas Ninjas

Mom took the boys trick-or-treating, while I stayed behind to give out candy and enjoy some of Cindy’s yummy guacamole…


Meanwhile, a couple of states away, Grandsons Mario and Luigi (a.k.a. Oliver and Carter), prepare to battle their arch enemy, Bowser, while Granddaughter Kameran is the most adorable Cheshire Cat…

Mario and Luigi Cheshire Cat

Needless to say, the boys cleaned-up on candy, and if they had their way, they’d eat it all tonight (and Adam was doing his best to negotiate that possibility)

Oh, and before I forget, here’s a picture of Cindy’s jack-o-lanterns. I cleaned-out the guts, and mom and the boys added the faces. Although I;m a little biased, I think they did a very nice job!


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It’s the last day of our Disney Weekend, and what better place to be than Hollywood Studios?

Disney Hollywood Studios

Naturally, we have a Fast-Pass to Star Tours, which is the number one ride for a couple of Star Wars geeks like Alex and Adam…

Star Tours

After the boys build a light saber in the Star Wars store, we still have about an hour before our Fast-Pass to the Rock-n-Roller Coaster, so we jump in line for one of my favorite rides: The Great Movie Ride…

The Great Movie Ride

This ride is sponsored by Turner Classic Movies, which happens to be my favorite cable channel. And movie host, Robert Osborne, introduces the crowd to a ride through some of Hollywood’s classic movies, like Casablanca…


There was enough action to keep the boys attention (although Adam commented that it moved too slowly), and plenty of nostalgia for me! And with that, we’re ready for Aerosmith and the Rock-n-Roller Coaster! Upon entering, we’re greeted by Steve, Joe and the rest of the band…


This is a great roller caoster…and F-A-S-T! It goes from 0 to 60 in about 2-1/2-seconds as it thrusts you through a series of “loop-the-loops” (as Adam likes to call them) and corkscrews…and all the while you’re listening to Aerosmith: “Love in an Elevator,” “Walk this Way,” and “Lick and a Promise”. After we finished, we saw that it was raining outside, so decided to get back in line and ride AGAIN! AWESOME!

RocknRoller Coaster

Next, we grab a bite to eat, and head over to the “Lights, Motor, Action! Extreme Stunt Show”. Lots of tires screeching, fire, and car jumps to keep you riveted to the set. It’s a great glimpse into how movie studios film all those fancy car chase scenes! And who doesn’t liked the smell of burnt rubber?

We decided to wrap-up the day with the Indiana Jones Stunt Show, but was distracted by the face painting…

Alex wanted to be a Tribal Warrior…

Alex Face Paint Alex Face Paint

Adam, chose a Lion Prince…

Adam Face Paint Adam Face Paint

By the time we finished with the face painting, the Indiana Jones show was about half over, so we decided to call it a day. We made our way to the park entrance and picked-up the packages we had transferred there earlier, climbed aboard the tram and made our way back to the car. It’s been a whirlwind few days, and I’m looking forward to getting back to work tomorrow, so I can relax a bit! 😉

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